Gaslighting is a form of psychological and emotional abuse in which someone or a group makes someone doubt their sanity, reality perception, or recollections. Gaslighting leaves victims feeling confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves. Some gaslighters often go about making people invalidate their own experiences, feelings, and memories.
Gaslighting primarily occurs in all types of relationships, be it friendship, or family, or your love life. Toxic people use this type of manipulation to show off their power to manipulate friends, family members, and sometimes even co-workers.
Gaslighters may be difficult to notice, especially up close, due to their sneaky nature. By studying how gaslighting works and getting familiar with how gaslighters act, you can better defend yourself from it.
Here are seven common phrases gaslighters often use to manipulate others:
1. “I really don’t know what I’ve done”:
This phrase is meant to make you feel awful about calling the Gaslighter out since it helps them to play the innocent victim role. When someone appears unhappy as you begin to make your case, you may be forced to take a step back and tone down your allegations. And just like that, they’ve done it! They’ve managed to make it easier and easier for them to gaslight you each time they do — all by simply denying what they’ve done and acting so sure of themselves that they’ve convinced you, too.
2. “You’re overreacting” or “you’re too sensitive, emotional”:
When you feel upset about something and tell someone how their actions are making you feel, have you ever been told that “you’re overreacting” or that you’re too sensitive or emotional? Well, that’s how gaslighters get to you. It’s one of their techniques to invalidate your feelings and making you second-guess your own emotions. Gaslighters often use to pin the blame on you instead of themselves.
3. “You know you sound crazy, right?”:
When you have disagreements with a gaslighter, they’re about to be proved wrong they will tear you down and tell you “you’re crazy” instead of admitting defeat. They can’t help it; their gaslighting behavior will not allow them to be wrong. They’ll emotionally manipulate you into feeling paranoid and self-conscious just so can have the upper hand in the argument.
4. “That’s not what happened ” or “You’re imagining things”:
Do you know what makes gaslighting so dangerous to one’s mental health? It can cause us to mistrust our memories and experiences, to the point where we are unsure what to trust. And it all begins with this relatively harmless phrase! “You’re imagining things. Let me tell you what actually happened.” People that talk down to you about your own experiences are probably trying to gaslight you. So be cautious, and remember that there is a difference between allowing someone to tell you their side of the story and allowing them to feed you lies.
5. “Stop exaggerating the situation”:
Have you noticed the pattern in phrases gaslighters often use to try and manipulate you? They usually start with the word “you,” as in you’re the one who’s always in the wrong, you’re the one who must be mistaken, and you’re the one causing the problems. Not them. Never them. Why? Because gaslighters love to prove “you” wrong. And they will often do this by tricking you into thinking that you simply imagine all these problems, that you’re “just being paranoid”, and that your concerns are all exaggerated or unfounded.
6. “If anything, I’m the one who should be mad at you” :
Gaslighters love to play the victim card, especially when they are the ones that hurt you. They’ll act as if you’re the one who’s hurting them by calling them out and forcing them to be accountable for their actions! “Why are you mad?” “I’m the one who’s being dragged, even though I didn’t do anything wrong!” It’s not you who’s the victim here; I should be the one mad at you!”. They are attempting to deflect responsibility by altering your impression of the circumstance and rewriting the story.
7. “Please don’t listen to anything they tell you . You can’t trust anyone but me” :
This is another favorite phrase of gaslighters to manipulate us. “What makes you think you should listen to them? “You’d believe them over me?” or “They’re just trying to deceive them.” A gaslighter will try to isolate you from everyone who notices something is wrong and wants to help you by saying things like, “This isn’t even their business!”. They want you to think that there isn’t anyone else you can trust but them, when the awful truth is, they’re the ones you never should’ve trusted in the first place.
It’s vital to recognize these gaslighting techniques, as well as how powerful they may be in making you question your sense of reality. Please seek the assistance of a professionally experienced therapist if you require assistance in overcoming the effects of gaslighting.
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